July 27, 1940


This picture, which graced the cover of the magazine before the United States entered the war, portrays a grim vision of events in Europe. One is immediately reminded by this cover of the forced relocation of European Jews to concentration camps, and though the full extent of Nazi atrocities was not widely known abroad until the closing days of the war, the existence of such camps public knowledge. Moreover, as an upper class urban magazine centered in Manhattan, The New Yorker likely had a significant Jewish audience. Despite the fact that the magazine was largely one which celebrated the WASP high society types of the city, many rich Jewish families wished to emulate this american aristocracy. At the same time, American Jews were appauled by the Nazi actions and a cover such as this would likely touch a nerve with that segment of the magazine's audience. This cover does not necessarily simply represent the suffering of European Jews, as people from all across defeated Europe were subject to Nazi rule at the time when this cover first appeared. This picture likely represents the magazine's (and by extension contemporary American upper class) understanding of the desperate situation in Europe. At the same time it clearly reflects a negative opinion of the Nazi regime, placing the majority of Americans on the side of the allies, even if the country as a whole was still not yet ready to engage actively in the war overseas at this point.





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